At the start of the First World War, most nations incorporated monoplanes in thier inventory. By mid-war these had been replaced by the biplane. At the end of the war most were coming back to the advantages in the single wing design - less drag, hence faster, better visibility in most directions. The Austrians were no different and they came up with the pretty little Aviatik 30.40 (3 = Aviatik, 0 = Experimental, 40 = the fourtieth aircraft in this sequence .. ie the 40th experimental Aviatik).
The 30.40 was born of a requirement for a new interceptor, and as such was the lightest aircraft built in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Powered by a 150hp Le Rhone, it could reach 1000m in 90 seconds – fast for the time. Based on its promising performance it was proposed for series production, but shortages of the required powerplant lead to it being shelved, and only the prototype aircraft was built.
The first kit in Alliance's 1/48 lineup, this kit of the Aviatik 30.40 is a nice start. This dimunitive plane makes for a small model, and as such there isn't much to this kit. With it being a parasol that's just that much less as well.
The engine is a nicely done example of the Le Rhone rotary engine, with separate cylinders and a one-piece hub. Over this goes a very thin and nicely detailed cowling, with all the proper holes present allowing peeks at the engine inside. The cockpit is somewhat basic and could use some additional detailing, but even out of the box it will look pretty good.
The wing is very nicely done, being thin with crisp detailing and subtle ribbing. The trailing edge features a fine scallop to it, while the ailerons are sharply delineated. If one wanted to reposition them, cutting them off and doing so would be a simple task. The same goes for the elevator and rudder, both of which also feature sharp lines and thin moldings.
The struts are nicely done and are suitably thin. The landing gear struts might not be sturdy enough to hold up over the years and might best be replaced with styrene examples. The light wing and low load shouldn't be a problem for the wing struts.
The decals are printed by Propagteam and are thin and in excellent register. Crosses and numbers are all that's provided, but then again, that's all this plane carried. The camouflage is a two-tone gray scheme with a jagged demarcation between the two.
Austro-Hungarian aircraft are not as common in the model world as British, French or German subjects. It is nice to see Alliance fill this gap with this kit and the WKF D.I (their second kit out). This kit will make a great piece in any WWI collection.